Single Review: Lil’ Kim, Da Brat, Lisa Lopes, Angie Martinez, Missy Elliott “Not Tonight (Remix)”

Not Tonight (Remix)
Album: Nothing To Lose Soundtrack
Year: 1997

Pop culture references and ghetto girl power abound in the uneven “Not Tonight (Remix).”

Dice can be heard being shaken and thrown onto a craps table. Lil’ Kim grunts to the Kool and the Gang “Ladies Night” sample. Missy Elliott “oohs” softly in the background. Lil’ Kim introduces herself as the head of the female rappers. (“Uhh, here’s another one, and another one/Yeah/Lil’ Kim, the Queen Bee”).

Former Hot 97 DJ Angie Martinez has the first verse. She namechecks the name of the sample. She adds that she is both naughty and nice. She brags about being unprofessional and lazy, saying she wrote her part the night before. She mentions it’s her first apperance on a song ever and she’s among some great rappers. She compares her friendship to Lil’ Kim to the famous movie duo of Thelma and Louise. The only difference is they have guns. However, her comparison is incorrect. Louise uses a handgun to stop Thelma from being raped. (“It’s ladies night what, it must be Angie on the mic/The Butter P honey got the sugar got the spice…Yo I just made this m********** up last night/And uhh… I’m the rookie on this all-star team/Me and Kim is gettin’ cream, like Thelma and Louise/but on chrome…”).

Lil’ Kim says people should blare the single in their cars. She raps that her music makes people dance. She says it’s her determination to become the biggest female rappers that she’s on top right now. Other rappers try to sell more than her but don’t succeed. Instead, she’ll tell her record company’s marketing department to send banners, avators and other promotional material through her website. She compares herself to legendary actress Mae West and references Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.” (“Bang this in your whips…Make you dance, ooowwww/I stay focused, in the dopest/Like a penny with a hole in it, y’all just hopeless/N***** tryin’ to knock me off, keep tryin’/All it takes is one phone call to my street team/Promote that ass, like a soundtrack New Jack Ci-tay…It’s the rap Mae West to Q-B/And I got all my sisters with me”).

Missy Elliott raps the chorus, saying it’s ladies-only for the single and the lyrics are excellent. Then, a small part of the original “Ladies Night” is sung. (“Oh this is ladies night, and our rhymes is tight/Oh this is ladies night, oh what a night (oh what a night)…oh this is ladies night, oh what a night (oh what a night”).

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes takes the second verse. She raps that she’s the peaceful, nonviolent one. She wants to put some humor in her music while making people think about society. She’s a clubber and likes to flirt with the guys there. She calls the other rappers in the single her girls and compliments them on their good looks. She then says her music is good, too. (“Uhh, never the one, packin’ a gun/Got some other raw chicks for that…I be the one chokin’ ya paragraphs with laughs/Getcha back up on the right path/Ain’t no stoppin me ladies from club hoppin gets my rock on…Booty shakin’ with the glass in my left one/Right hand sayin’ step-son/To me my girls is fancy fly b******…I be the one to blame as the flames keep risin’/To the top and it don’t stop”).

Da Brat, Missy Elliott’s tagalong, clings to her coattails and manages to weasel an appearance in the single. She raps that she sees guys pretend not to ignore the prettiest girls. However, when they do introduce themselves they are only interested in how much money the woman makes. She believes that other rappers brownnose her as they network. It’s likely the other way around. She doesn’t like cops and says she’s wealthy. (“Y’all see, how these bogus n***** try not to notice the dopest b******/Approachin’ with good intentions but focusin on they riches…humor me, by huggin’ me sayin’ you lovin’ me….F*** the police keep my wallet obese…”).

Elliott, the producer of the single, tells Lil’ Kim she’s not going to her hook singer. She jokes and asks her if she thinks she’s like Patti LaBelle. (“Aiyyo Kim…I ain’t even gon’ leave without sayin sun’un on this track/You ain’t gonna use me to just be singin’ hooks/What I look like?/
Patti LaBelle…?”).

After complaining, she gets her own short verse. She references the old Nike slogan (“Be Like Mike”) but says people should aspire to be her. She then references a single produced by her partner, Timbaland (“Pony” by Ginuwine). Then, she says her raps along with Lil’ Kim’s can start something and that she has to leave. (“Oh what a night/You should be like Missy ‘stead of bein’ like Mike/I like to ride pony’s instead of ridin’ bikesDusk411 and Lil’ Kim got the rhymes to incite/I gotta catch a flight”).

Elliott sings that it’s “ladies night/ladies night” at the end.

The mixture of four dominant personalities spoil the single. In the “Not Tonight (Remix)” everyone wants to be the main attraction. However, Martinez is clumsy and starstruck. Lil’ Kim sets the impish tone, cleaning up Martinez’s mess. Da Brat’s rapid pace and coarse rap is out of place with the previous lighthearted verses. The single has to adjust to suit her style, interrupting it altogether. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes adapts well, managing both to sell her image effectively and have some fun. She upstages Lil’ Kim in the process. The single once again, brakes fast and makes an awkward turn with Elliott’s section. While it may have stroked her ego to both produce and rap, it slows the single down considerably.

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